Small World: Fighting off peace

Henry Precht

Henry Precht

By Henry Precht

BN Columnist

The United States faces a grave crisis.  One threatening our economic wellbeing and modern political system.

We seem destined for a ruinous enemy deficit.

If President Obama has his way, Iran and America, after 35 years of enmity, may be headed for reconciliation — a serious diminution of tensions, constant blustering, proxy conflicts and freely flowing bile.

Only a stalwart group of congressmen and women stand in the way of an outbreak of harmony and good feelings with the Persians. Eager to advance the cause of American and Israeli security, they say, and dine from a delicious menu of weaponry, they feel obliged to ignore the contrary judgments of our generously funded intelligence agencies and order up yet more sanctions against Iran. A senator can’t take any chances, they tell us implicitly, especially when his reelection prospects are on the line and generous support is offered by those with a clear preference for nurturing war over deal-destroying peace.

After the Cold War ended came the War on Terror, which spawned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of those fights have or soon will be ended, at least for Washington. Syria is too messy to fully engage us. Yemen and Somalia don’t merit more than an occasional drone. That leaves Iran as the only credible enemy.

If Iran goes peaceful on us, agreeing to nearly all of our demands, how can Pentagon budgets be sustained? How can the patriotic rhetoric of politicians be taken seriously?

America’s surviving historic enemies are laughable: North Korea’s leadership is moving from nuclear threats to basketball challenges. Russia is a has-been and China is struggling to fill America’s shopping carts. Geriatric Cuba is less of a threat to Florida than another real estate bust.

If “Death to America” chants fade in Tehran, won’t chello kebab soon push out pizza in Washington? We must prepare for the worst: A new enemy must be targeted by the United States. But who can our people be taught to hate on short notice?

The best approach would be to go after trusted friends who have betrayed us. It would be easy to charge England with perfidy. But we have already fought two wars with our former masters. The same is true of the Germans. The slippery French are a possibility, but their slogan, “Make love, not war,” would make it hard to mobilize our young for battle.

The best choice, perhaps surprisingly, would probably be Canada. No American has paid any attention to the northern neighbor in a couple of centuries. It would be easy to stir our people up about dimly remembered cheating on the boundary, stealing our freely swimming fish and lobsters or the Canuck’s asserting sovereign rights to Our Northwest Passage. Think of the ships that would have to be built at Bath! The miles of Maine border that would need to be fortified! The hordes of summer and winter visitors that would have to be investigated! An ideal enemy!

Of course, the infinitely polite and hospitable Canadians — like the subtly graceful Iranians — might pleasingly yield to our demands. Should they exhibit incorrigible sweetness, we had best prepare backup antagonists.

What about Israel and Saudi Arabia? Both now delight in spitting in our eyes and kicking our shins when we suggest different behavior. And with Israel, moving to enemy status would end aid and save us over $3 billion annually.

Except that some members of Congress would insist on voting Israel the usual aid package despite its officially declared enemy status.

Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer. This article has appeared on Lobelog.com

Please follow and like us: